Pentastomiasis: Transmission & Reservoirs



Larva, nymph, and adult forms of pentastoma can infect humans. Humans are infected by ingesting ova, found in snake or reptile saliva and excreta, which can contaminate water or food. Some folks are infected with pentastomiasis by directly eating uncooked snakes or lizards.

Another route of infection is through handling snakes, harvesting of their skins, or playing with pet snakes, and then touching the mouth or eating.

Ingested eggs reach the intestinal tract of the human host, where the embryo emerges and becomes a first-stage larva.





Definitive Host: most commonly, snakes and other reptiles

Mammals and birds can also be the definitive host, but are parasitized, whereas snakes and reptiles can be enormously infected and show no symptoms. For example, Linguatulidae’s definitive hosts are carnivorous mammals, and Reighardia sternae’s definitive host is the seagull.

Intermediate Host: usually a plant-eating vertebrate. Mammals, such as humans, rats, monkeys, other wild/domestic animals, plus insects, fish, amphibians, and reptiles are all candidates.

Vector: There exists no vector for pentastomiasis.